Santiago Vescovi is three games into his college basketball career, and he’s already making a massive impact for the Vols.
But, what about the turnovers?
Yeah, I’ll get to that. Honestly, hist turnovers don’t bother me that much right now.
No, I don’t want my point guard averaging seven turnovers a game. But, if he averaged three, which led to less creation offensively, give me the seven.
Do they hurt the team? Sure.
Turnovers are never a good thing. However, Vescovi brings so much to the court on the offensive end; you have to live with the turnovers.
What’s hard for most people to understand is this season will not be anywhere close to as successful as last season.
I think we got played. I got played. Tennessee made Washington look like they were playing a middle school zone back in November.
I still believe this year’s squad has the potential for strong offensive outings. But, that starts with Vescovi and his unique ability to create offense, even when it’s the little things.
One of the reasons I took up for Lamonte Turner when most fans wanted to bench him was he created offense. Game after game, Lamonte was the only creator.
Before Turner’s injury, he ranked fourth in the nation in assist percentage, according to KenPom.com. Did he turn it over a little too much?
But, he had the ball in his hands more than anyone on the team. Plus, he was asked to create offense.
One of the problems is we are trying to compare this year’s point guards to Jordan Bone. Bone was spectacular, but he also had veteran talent around him. Veteran NBA talent.
If Vescovi were turning the ball over seven times a game on last year’s squad, I would agree to bench him.
However, in just three games, he’s the best creator, shooter, and passer on the team. Even with the turnovers, playing him gives Tennessee the best chance to win.
South Carolina Rewatch
I rewatched the South Carolina game. I wanted to focus on his impact on the offensive end. Then, compare that influence to how the team played when he was on the bench.
The Vols opened the game on a 7-0 run, led by…guess who, Santiago Vescovi. Credit John Fulkerson for hitting shot and throwing down the alley-oop, but Vescovi created those points.
He also hit an unassisted 3-point jumper from a defensive rebound he grabbed.
Tennessee scored 25 points in the first half against South Carolina. Vescovi directly impacted the play of 10 of those points. All-in-all, the Vols scored 15 of their 25 points with Vescovi on the floor.
The second half was more impressive.
Vescovi directly accounted for 14 points. That includes passes leading to fouls, extra passes, assists, and points.
The SEC Network gave Fulkerson the MVP of the game, and rightful so. Fulkerson finished with 15 points on 5-of-7 from the floor and a perfect 5-of-5 from the free-throw line. The junior big man also hauled in ten boards, giving him his first double-double of the season.
However, without Vescovi, South Carolina would have earned a W in the win column.
KenPom.com is a fantastic website for advanced statistics on college basketball. Players have to play a certain amount of minutes to be eligible for national rankings. So, Vescovi isn’t eligible yet.
However, please take a look at where he ranks in these categories.
The first category is the percentage of possessions used. This calculates the percent of personal possessions while on the court. The percentage rate has nothing to do with minutes played, which is why it’s a good measuring stick for Vescovi’s offensive usage.
35.7 percent is where Vescovi ranks. That’s best on the team by 6.6 percent to Lamonte Turner.
But, since Turner is no longer playing, you have to keep falling to 20.6 percent, which is Jordan Bowden.
If Vescovi were eligible for national ranks, his 35.7 percent would rank him 9th. The percentage is one reason why I’m okay with the turnovers. He’s apart of double the possessions than anyone else on the team.
Another category I want to dive into is true shooting percentage.
Law of averages tells us his percentage won’t stay that high with more shot attempts, hence why he isn’t nationally ranked. But, Vescovi has a true shooting percentage of 73.7 percent.
What does that mean?
It means he’s an exceptional shooter. KenPom explains true shooting percentage the following way, “It’s like eFG%, but throws in trips to the line and converts it to a shooting percentage that approximates what 2-point percentage a player would need to have to score the points he produces on all of his shooting attempts.”
If Vescovi were eligible, he would rank first in the nation.
That’s right, Santiago Vescovi in first.
If all that wasn’t enough to explain how his pros outweigh the turnovers, Vescovi leads the team with a 28.2 assist rate. Bowden comes in second 11 points lower.
The turnovers are frustrating, but let’s be real; without Santiago Vescovi, the Vols are 0-3 in the SEC and without hope.
At least now, there might be a chance for this team to sneak into the NCAA Tournament.